A Complete Overview of the Differences between Trademark and Copyright

calendar11 Sep, 2020
timeReading Time: 4 Minutes
Differences between Trademark and Copyright

A trademark represents your product and brand in a marketplace. Name, slogans, and logos are typical trademarks. Meanwhile, the copyright safeguards the work of authorship, including painting, books, and even complex computer code. To secure intellectual property, one has to obtain federal registration with the help of an attorney. In the article, we will unfold the key differences between Trademark and Copyright.

Overview on Trademark Registration 

A trademark acts like an identity of your brand in the marketplace. The most typical trademarks are product names, slogans, and logos. However, it is feasible to register a non-traditional trademark, as well. Distinctive color patterns, soundtracks, and even smell can come under the category of trademark registration. The Indian trademark law safeguards the trademarks as per the regulations cited under Trademark Act, 1999.

Figuring out which aspect of your business seeks trademark registration can be an intimidating task—emphases on those business aspects that have direct exposure to your customers. The ultimate objective of any business is to reap the highest ROI and make the products or services stand out in the crowd. A registered trademark has the potential to garners these benefits for you.  Once registered, the trademark can help your brand grow over time by creating customer loyalty.

The globalization of brand names, trade, trade name, and mark has garnered a distinctive value that seeks legal protection and effective enforcement procedure as mentioned under the TRIPS. In the purview of the same, the government made some relevant amendments in Indian Trade and Merchandise Marks Act, 1958[1], and decided to enact a new act – Trade Marks Act, 1999. The new act enclose all the provisions and regulation in accordance with the international systems and practices

Moreover, the trademark registration remains valid for ten years from the date when the application was filed. Such registration can be renewed by filing the renewal application to the concerned authority within six months of the expiration date.

Read our article:How To Obtain Copyright Registration in India?

Overview on Copyright Registration

Copyright registration is used to protect the work of authorship, plays, books, and even websites. Unlike a trademark, which renders the protection against replication of the brands and logo, the scope of copyright protection is confined to the exact piece of work. The Indian Copyright Act 1957 regulates the subject of copyright in India.

A Copyright doesn’t offer any coverage to ideas or notions but instead emphasizes the expression of the same. Once registered under the copyright act, the owner obtains the exclusive right toward his work. Under copyright protection, the owner can reproduce his work, or create something that inspires from the original piece. Moreover, the owner is also free to share his work publically via performance or display.

Coming to its validity, the copyright generally lasts for sixty years from the date of registration. In the case of artistic, dramatic, and musical works, 60 years’ validity becomes active after the one year of the author’s demise. In the case of photography, films, posthumous publication, sound recording, and pseudonymous publications, the validity of 60 years commences from the date of publication.

Since there is no compulsion on anyone to obtain a copyright registration, it can be availed through the voluntary action by artists seeking protection of their work. The registration does not grant any new authority, and it is not a medium for initiating action against violations. 

Key Differences between Trademark and Copyright

Differences between Trademark and Copyright
Trademark Copyright
In general, trademarks are being utilized by persons, commercial and non-commercial bodies to safeguard the business names, slogans, brand names, and more. Copyright registration confers the protection to artistic works related to music, drama, or literature.
An idea or a notion or software does not
come under trademark registration.
A copyright registration even encompasses programs, software, and database.
Trademark is a sort of value addition to the products or services.  Copyright confers the legal right to the individuals
who protect their work.
Trademark is the reflection of the product’s identity. It allows the company to protect the name of the brand over a specified timeframe.  Copyright registration is
used for the prevention of theft or duplicity of original works.
Since a specified law governs trademark
a provision in India, it allows the owner to
combat infringement actions through a
legal right.
Copyright grants a legal
right to the owner to sue
anyone who strives to replicates their creative works.
Trademark registration serves the validity
period of 10 year
Copyright registration
remains valid for sixty
years but it applicability.

Noteworthy pointers regarding differences between Trademark and Copyright

  • Trademark removes the dilutions and confusion.
  • Copyright has a low bar for the originality. Meanwhile, Trademark advocates distinctiveness and protects the goodwill associated with the mark.
  • The registration process for copyright is relatively simple as compared to the trademark.
  • Trademark safeguard the owner’s right to exclusively utilize logos, images, word, or phrases to differentiate specific product or service in the marketplace.
  • Copyright applies to the work of art (2d or 3d), photos, drawing, soundtracks, books, publications, shows, movies, and other performance art. 
  • Copyrighted expression becomes less vulnerable to copying or duplicacy.
  • Precisely, copyright registration cannot be given to a non-original form of expression.


One could easily be confused between trademark and copyright due to inherent similarities. Being an essential part of an intellectual property right, both these forms differ from each other to a significant extend. Finding out what aspect of your work seek trademark could be a difficult task. Try to identify the areas that have a direct association with your customers.

This way you can narrow down your search and probably pinpoint the assets that need a trademark. Feel free to drop a message in case if you seek additional information on the same. We will try to respond to your queries in quick successions.

Read our article:Trademark Renewal and Restoration in India

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